Careful observations document newborns’ instinctual behaviors
If you haven't seen the YouTube video of "breast crawl" I encourage you to go right now and watch!
Did you find one?
Hopefully so, and if you're like me you found it both breathtaking and incredibly awesome. Babies come out of the womb with the ability to search for what they're looking for; closeness to their Moms, food, and warmth.
Watching these videos and reading this article confirmed for me that when a babe is born, the first place it should go before "washing" before cord-clamping, before anything is directly to his Mama's chest. Weighing and all of that other "stuff" isn't necessary. Unless, of course the baby is in distress, the time between birth is precious, sacred and important time for Mom to look over her little bundle and for baby to get re-acquainted with Mom from the outside.
Blessings to all,
Back when I worked in a lab, I spent countless hours diligently watching fruit flies mate. It was a strange job — both extremely scandalous and extremely boring. But lots of scientists are also voyeurs, I swear. And those tedious observations were a good way to learn about instinctual behaviors.
So I was a little nostalgic when I came across a paper from scientists in Sweden. The researchers did their own careful observations on 28 of the most mysterious creatures on the planet: brand-spanking-new humans. Videos of babies in their first hour of life gave the researchers an unprecedented view of how newborns instinctually behave, when left to their own devices and nestled skin-to-skin on their mothers’ chests. I found the results, published in January 2011 in Acta Paediatrica, just as fascinating as the Drosophila courtship ritual.
Here are some key milestones in the first hour and 10 minutes of a newborn’s life, presented in median minutes:
Minute 0: Babies wail a robust, angry birth cry that helps wake up the lungs.
Minute 2: After all that wailing, babies spend less than a minute relaxing, holding perfectly still on their mothers’ chests. The authors speculate that this silent, still break might have evolved to keep babies hidden from predators.
Minute 2.5: As they start to wake up, newborns open their eyes for the first time. Babies gradually start moving their heads and mouths.
Minute 8: Babies become even more active, keeping their eyes open for five minutes or longer at a time. During this active phase, newborns seem to grow interested in eating, looking at their mothers’ faces and breasts, making sweet little “hungry” noises and moving their hands toward their mouths.
Minute 18: That was exhausting. Time for another rest.
Keep reading on Science News
Published on November 7, 2013 by Paul J. Zak in The Moral Molecule
Doctors, nurses, midwives and doulas all talk about oxytocin, the hormone that surges through the mother's body to induce contractions, to produce milk, and to somehow make the stresses, length, and discomfort of labor fade away when gazing down at the new child in your arms.
I found this article in Psychology Today really informative and hope you do, too.
The "love molecule," oxytocin, is the chemical foundation for trusting others. Activated by positive social interactions, it makes us care about others in tangible ways, and it motivates us to work together for a common purpose.
After a dozen years studying the role oxytocin plays in human behavior, I thought I'd share an answer to the question I am most often asked: How can I raise my levels? As the paperback version of The Moral Molecule hits the shelves, this seems an appropriate time to unveil my top 10 list.
But first, a short neuroscience digression: The effect of oxytocin, like other signaling chemicals in the brain, is more dependent on changes than on absolute levels. Oxytocin helps us respond appropriately to our socialenvironment by changing its amounts in the brain second by second. So, rather than focus on oxytocin levels that are near zero, for most people without a positive social interaction, the better question is how can oneincrease their level of oxytocin when interacting with others and thereby increase empathy and compassion towards them.
Another neuroscience digression: Because oxytocin is so ancient (a precursor can be traced back at least 400 million years to fish), natural selection has found ways to utilize it in both the brain and the body. Unlike almost every other neurochemical we make, animal studies have shown that the change in oxytocin after a social interaction as measured in blood reflects changes in oxytocin in the brain. Thus, if an activity causes a spike in oxytocin as measured in the blood, a corresponding spike is likely occurring in the brain. It is brain oxytocin that is most responsible for effects on behavior, and blood oxytocin gives us a window into what is occurring in the brain.
The ways to raise oxytocin listed below are based on measuring changes in oxytocin in blood in humans. Many are from my lab, but some come from other sources. Variations in protocols and the moderate sample sizes for human studies inhibit comparing the reported average changes in oxytocin across published works. Instead, I'm simply listing the ways to raise oxytocin in order of my personal favorites.
Keep Reading at Psychology Today.
To my mind, chemistry is the best indicator of whether or not a doula is the right match for you. When you're in a doula consultation something clicks; it may be the doulas sincerity, the way she looks you in the eye, the way she affirms your choices, the way she answers your questions or perhaps it's just a smile or laugh.
Finding the right doula is so vitally important, that I always suggest that parents and mothers think about whether or not they want to hire me for at least a day, rather than making the decision right away.
I found these tips from the Stir really helpful and hope you will, too.
By Judy Dutton
More and more women are turning to birth coaches, and with good reason. Some studies show using a doula reduces the length of labor, pain levels, and C-section rates up to 50 percent. "Many mothers refer to them as the women who have made their birthing experience a 'dreamy' one," says Giuditta Tornetta, a birth coach at JoyinBirthing.com.
A doula will give you the emotional support and information that most OB/GYNs -- and stressed-out husbands -- can't provide. "Basically a doula is there to help the mom get the birth she wants," says Stephanie Heintzeler, a doula atTheNewYorkDoula.com. But as with choosing your doctor, midwife, and pediatrician, it's important to choose a doula that's right for you.
Here's how ...
Keep reading on The Stir
Just over one week ago, my partner and I packed our new VW Passat and took an epic 7-day trek across the breathtakingly beautiful USA to our new home in Seattle, WA.
After some housing blips, we have settled into the "hip and trendy" (I guess?) neighborhood called Capitol Hill. I've been reaching out to doulas via Facebook trying to make some connections to organizations and individual doulas to serve as a back up doula to me, all the while exploring our new city.
To say that it's been an interesting transition is putting it lightly, but of course it reminds me of birth.
The journey was long and, at times, it felt like we'd never make it in one piece, but of course we did and now we look at one another in awe. After ten years living in NYC, we have a new city to explore, learn about and love.
If you're in Seattle and in need of a doula for your upcoming birth I would love to talk to you about my doula practice.
Hi there! I'm Erika Davis and I'm a doula working in the Seattle and South Puget Sound area.